Let’s mark Canada’s 150th birthday by establishing a Department of Peace


An article by the Canadian Peace Initiative from Common Ground

Canada has a proud history of peacekeeping. Now, more than ever, we need Canada to take leadership and open the road to peace for the rest of the world. The call is out to establish a Department of Peace on our 150th birthday. We have the opportunity to bring a beacon of light to the fragile state of our planet, racked by war, devastation and fear.


This is not a far-fetched idea, but something tangible that the Canadian Peace Initiative has worked on for years. Right now, a unique opportunity is open: You can directly ask Canada to increase its capabilities in peace leadership.

Until November 25, 2016, the House of Commons is hosting the CPI’s e-petition, calling for a federal department of peace. This non-partisan petition is sponsored by MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj. It’s time for Canada to build on our international legacy of making the world less violent and more peaceful. Please support this Parliamentary Petition to create a Ministry of Peace in Canada. To sign the petition, go to http://canadianpeaceinitiative.ca/get-involved/sign-the-petition/

The Canadian Peace Initiative is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization with an aim to increase the capacity for peace-building within the Canadian federal government. Similar departments already exist in three other countries.

Canada has a greater role to play in reducing the mass suffering and death caused by war, terrorism and violence, whether domestically or around the world. Join us in demanding that our government establish a Department of Peace.

There is currently no strategic focus for peace in government, and there has rarely been a greater urgency or a better window of opportunity to consider the creation of a Department of Peace in our country. This is one of the principle aims of the Canadian Peace Initiative. We see that Canada has an important role to play in the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts at home and abroad.

The Canadian Peace Initiative is committed to the establishment of a Department of Peace within the Government of Canada. The Department of Peace would work towards building a new architecture of peace by establishing a culture of peace and assertive non-violence in Canada and the world. We are part of a growing international movement.

The mandate of the Minister of Peace would be to reinvigorate Canada’s role as a peacekeeper and peacebuilder as follows:

1. Develop early detection and rapid response processes to deal with emerging conflicts and establish systemic responses to post-conflict demobilization, reconciliation and reconstruction.

2. Lead internationally to abolish nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, to reduce conventional weapon arsenals and to ban the weaponization of space.

(Article continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

(Article continued from left column)

3. Implement the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (1999) to safeguard human rights and enhance the security of persons and their communities.

4. Implement UN Resolution 1325 on the key role played by women in the wide spectrum of peace-building work.

5. Establish a Civilian Peace Service that, with other training organizations, will recruit, train and accredit peace professionals and volunteers to work at home and abroad, as an alternative to armed intervention.

6. Address issues of violence in Canada by promoting non-violent approaches that encourage community involvement and responsibility, such as Restorative Justice, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR).

7. Support the development of peace education at all levels, including post-secondary peace and conflict studies.

8. Promote the transition from a war-based to a peace-based economy.

9. Establish processes of reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples.
With a growing list of supporters, individuals and groups, our supporters now represent over two million Canadians.

“At the macro level, when the Prime Minister needs advice when making policy or program choices about peace, there is a big vacuum. There is no strategic focus for peace in government.” – Bill Bhaneja, former Senior Policy Advisor, Foreign Affairs & International Trade

“The Canadian Department of Peace Initiative is the right action at the right time… as more and more citizens and politicians recognize and act upon the human right to peace.” – The Honourable Doug Roche, former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament

“A ministry of peace could be a place where peace-building activities could be consolidated and [where we could] develop techniques for reconciliation.” – The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada

“Years hence, when every country has a Ministry of Peace, people will look back and ask, ‘What took us so long?’ After all, we have a ministry for almost everything else: health, education and so on. How odd that, of all things, we have no ministries of peace.” – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, spiritual leader, Shambhala International

“The idea of establishing a department of peace is beyond overdue. We must strive to become a beacon of hope. We must usher in a new era of conflict resolution. We know how to live harmoniously in our great country. We now need to share this knowledge with the world.” – Senator Mobina Jaffer

“The creation of a Ministry for Peace… is not the final achievement, merely the making of a road to achieve a sustainable order that would allow resolution of human conflicts without violence.” – Dr. Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Laureate